Home Improvement Ideas for Every Area of Your Home

With the holiday season now just a memory, perhaps you find yourself with some time on your hands to devote to those big New Year’s resolutions-so you’ve been frequenting the gym, taking Sundays to prepare and freeze healthy recipes for the week and spending more time with your family and friends. But what about all those to-dos on your house that never seemed to get done in 2010?

Whether you’re looking to put your house on the market in 2011 or just want to make some positive changes for your family, here are some great home improvement ideas that will deliver the most bang for your buck that you can spend a winter weekend or two or three on implementing. If you live in a condo building make sure to speak with the homeowner’s association first about any changes you’re planning to make.

Kitchen and Bathroom Upgrades

Remodeling kitchens and bathrooms have the highest return on investment. You could replace the cabinetry or install energy-efficient appliances, but a surefire way to immediately up your kitchen’s visual appeal is to replace the counter-top.

For good or bad, the bathtub can be a focal point in your bathroom. If a new tub is in your budget, you could add a new model or a freestanding soaking tub to really increase your bathroom’s luxuriousness factor. Even just refinishing your existing tub can make it look brand new.

Let Their Be Light

Recessed lighting looks clean and doesn’t compromise headroom. It’s easily installed and will instantly brighten the room. You also might want to consider adding new windows or expanding existing ones in order to make a room seem larger and more inviting. Even just adding or moving electrical outlets and switches can allow for easier access to electricity, and improve the eyesores associated with electrical cords being visible throughout the room.

Better Flooring

New flooring is one of the best projects for whatever room you’ve decided to focus on, whether that includes carpet in the upstairs bedroom, hardwood floors throughout the downstairs or a unique tile in the bathrooms. People constantly can see and touch their floors, and prospective buyers will definitely be interested in the quality of your flooring when considering whether to make your home theirs.

Hide Unattractive Storage

If you live in a small space, you might not have a home office that can house an unsightly file cabinet. In that case, you probably have to hide your files in the open. This entails measuring fabric to the length and width of the cabinet and using hook and loop tape to attach the fabric to it. Or you can find extra storage space by using a skirting table, under which you could stack boxes. It pays to be inventive, and the pay off is extra room for your belongings without any additional eyesores in your home.

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Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Pros and Cons

Within the last few years there as been an aggressive push on the part of government, professional organizations, and other authorities to institute a uniform EMR system. This includes generous subsidies allocated by recent legislation and mandatory legal requirements to occur in the next few years. As a practicing and academic physician with a masters degree in public health, I would like to briefly note some observations.

Intuitively, a uniform, easily accessible EMR seems like a very good idea. In fact, one of my major difficulties in practice occurs when a new patient arrives without copies of previous diagnostic studies or lists of medications. This is compounded in an incapacitated or elderly individual with many medical conditions and medications, and when there is a language barrier. Such patients may have great difficulty, or be incapable of, relaying this information to the new physician. To go online and immediately retrieve it would be very helpful indeed.

However, in these days of lower reimbursement and higher practice volumes, time spent imputing information may be time spent away from patient care. You may have experienced a visit where your doctor, using an EMR, has his eyes and hands on the computer much more than on you. I personally have accompanied relatives to physicians and emergency rooms where the doctor spent almost no time talking to, or examining the patient but instead sat in front of the computer, recording or retrieving information.

Also, these electronic records include templates where “check off” of existing information, rather than recording of original information is involved. This helps improve physician reimbursement by conforming with insurance company guidelines for level of service. It does little, however, to record the doctor’s thought processes or enhance the necessary medical information provided by this specific physician.

Don’t get me wrong. Good information is a good thing. But, it must be good for the patient and not just there to satisfy an insurance company. Also, it must contribute to, not detract from, the overall quality of care.

Give Your Home a New Look With a Fiber-Cement Siding

The exterior of a home is what protects against the elements. Having quality siding not only adds a great look to the home, but it also helps a home last as long as possible. There are many different types of siding available to homeowners from aluminum to wood to vinyl, but none of them can offer the protection that James Hardie Siding can. This is a fiber cement siding that comes in many different colors and styles. The siding is made to withstand the elements, protect the home and last as long as the house itself. The siding does not give in to typical wear and tear issues like water damage, insect damage, fading or rusting.

The installation of siding is where much of the expense comes from for homeowners. With James Hardie Siding, the installation costs are going to be less than with other materials. The design and measuring process that James Hardie Siding puts their potential customers through helps to get a very customized fit. This cuts down on the labor required to get the siding prepared for the installation. There are over four million homes nationwide that have chosen James Hardie for their siding installation, and that is a testament to the quality of the product.

Vinyl and aluminum siding are more vulnerable to the elements when compared to James Hardie Siding. Both of these materials will crack or break if something of great impact hits them. This could happen with a hail storm, or with debris that is picked up and thrown during high winds. Both vinyl and aluminum also need to be replaced sooner than James Hardie Siding because their structural integrity breaks down a lot faster. The siding can warp which can lead to damage being done to the home. The warping also looks bad so it can decrease the value of the home.

People want protection for their home, but they also want their home to look exceptional when they put up new siding. With James Hardie Siding, they have a color fast program that gives buyers access to a computer system that helps with the design process. Picking out the siding colors, getting measurements and even seeing a virtual image of what the siding will look like can all be done through this system. Homeowners take great pride in maintaining their living space, and the installation of James Hardie Siding is a huge positive step toward that goal. There is no other siding on the market that can provide this level of protection, durability and style.

What Does a Notary Public Do and Why?

Notary Public is important to the legal system as many court documents must be notarized. A notary public is a person authorized by the Secretary of State to serve the public in non-contentious matters and has statutory powers to witness documents, administer oaths, and perform other wide-ranging administrative functions of a national and international nature. The main functions of a notary include:

· Attesting documents and certifying their due execution for use
· Preparing and certifying powers of attorney, wills, deeds, contracts and other legal documents
· Administering oaths
· Witnessing signatures to affidavits, statutory declarations, powers of attorney, contracts, and other documents
· Verifying documents
· Certifying copy documents
· Exemplifying official documents
· Notes and protests bills of exchange

A document is “notarized” with a special embossed notary seal to affirm that the signers are indeed who they say they are. Notaries Public affix their official seal or stamp, to documents immediately under, adjacent or as near as possible to their signatures.

The eligibility criteria for becoming a notary are determined by state law. Each state has its own requirements. Generally the person must be at least 18 years of age and either living or be employed in the state. There are no specific legal training requirements. Most states also require applicants to take and pass a proctored exam before practicing as a notary public. Some states ask that individuals secure a bond prior to applying for a position as a notary public. Once commissioned as a notary public, the commission is valid for a fixed term and must be renewed on expiry of the term. Most states prescribe the fees that a notary public can charge. A notary public must keep a record in a well-bound book of each of his or her attestations.

Notaries are expected to be familiar with the codes and ordinances applicable to notarizing documents and performing notary duties. A notary may be sued if his/her actions were negligent. Upon notification by a court of law that a notary has been convicted of false certification, the Secretary of State will revoke the notary’s commission. Errors and Omissions Insurance (commonly called E & O) is a form of liability insurance that protects the notary public from claims or suits that are the result of the notary’s negligent acts, errors or omissions.

Atlanta Real Estate Online

Atlanta real estate online services help you meet all your real estate needs in and around Atlanta. They help you to buy or sell your property or to relocate. These online services provide information on all residential and commercial properties for sale. Atlanta real estate online services are equally helpful for both experienced investors and first-time buyers.

There are hundreds of reliable websites offering you many kinds of Atlanta real estate services. Most of them have good listings of homes and other properties. They display high-quality photographs of homes and office buildings. In most cases, price tags are also provided. Certain real estate firms with online services make use of multiple listing services (MLS). Many companies offer mortgage help as well. Online real estate services usually monitor your deal from the very beginning to the final settlement.

Most Atlanta real estate agents foster their own websites. They provide huge area-wide lists of real estate properties. Information about some of the best real estate agents is also provided through various websites. These agents will help you make a market evaluation of properties, price your home, and pursue the various procedures involved in the buying or selling process.

Online Atlanta real estate services offer you many advantages, especially if you are an outsider. They offer direct access to various properties available for sale. These services keep you abreast of the changes in trends and help you make decisions accordingly. Atlanta’s online real estate is flourishing, owing to a rapid growth in the Atlanta population and the increased rate of employed people.

Why the Earth Your Home is Built on May Be Sick

Many of us spend our hard earned money and our valuable time with alternative health care in hopes of improving our health, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. However, in our pursuit of good health, we often overlook the important role our home plays in supporting that health.

If we are living in an unhealthy home, then all of our good work is negated and the improvement in our health remains elusive.

The earth your home is built upon may have energetic influences that are sick. That sick energy emitting from the ground may affect your own body’s energetic system by lowering your immune system.

We know through science, that everything is energy and we know that emotions have an energetic charge or signal. If there has been war, death, illness, sadness, divorce, or any other emotional or physical trauma occurring on your home’s property, then the energetic of those experiences may have left an energetic imprint that could be affecting your own body’s ability to heal.

The earth’s energy system of ley lines, geopathic stress – which is the electrical charge created as water moves along earth lines, and electro magnetic pollution emitting from all the electricity we are exposed to, may also contribute in creating an unhealthy home.

Think of it this way: Your body has a meridian system an acupuncturist might balance to help you regain or maintain health.

The earth has a similar system of meridian lines (ley lines, geopathic stress,) running in all directions and your home can act as an acupuncture point on the earth’s energy system.

Sometimes geopathic stress, (the earth’s meridian system) will run through a cemetery, landfill, toxic waste site, or underground water. When this happens the ley line or geopathic stress becomes toxic. Because ley lines and geopathic areas of stress are energy, they can affect everything they come in contact with. These toxic lines can radiate up from the earth and into your home.

This means, if your home is built on unhealthy toxic areas of geopathic stress, it can become an unhealthy environment for you to live in. Just like your body’s meridian system, the earth’s meridian system can be cleared and balanced bringing your home back to a state of health which can then support your pursuit of health and well being.

What Are Centers of Excellence at Hospitals?

When I first began researching information on various hospitals across the United States, I came across many hospitals that offered a variety of Centers of Excellence. I was curious as to what constituted a Center of Excellence as opposed to just listing a program as a specialty service, so I decided to research this as well.

What I found out was that a Center of Excellence essentially means that a hospital specializes in the treatment of a certain illness or specializes in particular treatments. Centers of excellence can be anything from heart or cancer care to neurosurgery or organ transplants. Some hospitals offer a variety of Centers of Excellence whereas other hospitals might just offer one or two.

It was more difficult to find out how a hospital was able to claim the distinction of having a Center of Excellence. From what I could gather, each individual program and treatment has particular criteria that needs to be met in order for the hospital to state that their program is a Center of Excellence. They might require that the treatments be performed by a certain type of doctor or that a certain amount of treatments are performed annually.

I also found that different health care programs and health insurance programs will also designate a program of a hospital as a Center of Excellence based on their own criteria. This might mean that they are more likely to recommend this hospital as opposed to another hospital. They do this as a service to the patients who have their insurance to help them make an informed decision about which program is right for them. If you have a question about a particular hospitals Center of Excellence designation, you should ask them about how they received the designation and who gave it to them.

How to Choose the Right Home Repair Service – 3 Tips to Help You Out

Do you need to know how to choose the right home repair service for your current home improvement projects or job? From knowing what type of past experience and how many years the contractors or handyman has been in business to knowing if they can insure and guarantee their work these 3 tips will help make your search easier.

1. By getting a company with a track record of more than a few years of service you can be sure that the well-being of your home will be accounted for. Nobody in business can sustain it without providing good customer service at a fair price.

2. Before you get to far into the decision making process on who will be working on your house be sure to ask if the contractor is properly licensed and insured. Also ask and be sure that the company and its workers are aware of any and all types of city and county building and construction codes.

3. A top priority when getting any type of work completed for home is making sure you get a guarantee from the handyman. Contractors who provide a written warranty for completed jobs and construction work show they have pride and care about their ability to satisfy your home repair needs on the first try.

Now you should have a very good idea on some of the basic details and traits to look for when you start calling different handyman services to come and give you your free estimates. From knowing the business has a proven track record to knowing they are insured and licensed you now have a better idea on how to choose the right home repair service for your needs.

Check Out Available Government Grants For Essential Home Repairs

Did you know homeowners with low incomes who need repairs to their homes might be eligible Rural Home Repair grants and/loans from USDA Rural Development? Any rural areas and communities that have a population of 20,000 or less are eligible. Types of repairs that can be done range from improving the safety or sanitary conditions of a home to correcting any safety or health hazards as well. However, grants are used for the removal and repair of safety or health hazards only.

The Purpose Of Loans And Grants

Grants are available only when the repairs or improvements will take away any safety or health hazards that have been previously identified. However, if the goal is modernizing or improving a home in addition to health/safety hazards being removed, then loan funds may be available. Also, the repairs made to a home with grant or loan funds do not have to meet the development standards of the agency, nor do all known hazards have to be removed as long there’s no further major safety/health concerns when the scheduled repairs have been done.

The work covered by authorized grants and loans includes, but isn’t totally comprised of, the following:

  • Sanitary Disposal Systems: repair or installation, including fixtures or plumbing, that are in line with the requirements of the area health department.
  • Needed Insulation

It is required, before filing the USDA Rural Development application, that the applicant is the owner and has been living in the home. A permanent foundation defined as either:

  1. A foundation that is a complete below grade, or
  2. The home sits on piers, blocks, or a similar foundation that has anchored tie-downs and skirting.

Maximum Amount of Grant or Loan

  • Rural Development rural home repair loans have a maximum limit of $20,000, either initial or subsequent, to any person.

Limitations On The Use Of Grant/Loan Funds

Grant funds or a home repair loan from Rural Development cannot be used for:

  • Help for the construction of a new home.

Limitations On How Grant Funds Are Used

Additionally, the grant funds from Rural Development rural home repair cannot be used for any changes made for convenience or cosmetic purposes unless those changes have a direct connection to the hazards that are being removed. The definition of convenience and cosmetic changes might include, but will not be limited to:

  • Any Painting

Requirements For Eligibility

Applicants for Rural Development rural home repair are expected to meet these requirements:

  • Must be a United States citizen.
  • Application is for only a Rural Development rural home repair grant.
  • Must be a minimum age of 62 years.

You can get additional information at any of the USDA Rural Development Offices, located in all the states, for Rural Home Repair Grant and Loan Programs.

Learn About Your Civil Rights

When you need help, a civil rights attorney in Philadelphia will take care of your litigation needs. These rights are all about you and your legal rights whether your dispute involves education, housing, employment or lending. If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion or even a disability, your Philadelphia attorney will go to battle on your behalf.

Did you know there is a difference between civil liberties and civil rights? The Bill of Rights and the Constitution guarantee the right to certain freedoms which are broad-based kinds of rights and these are civil liberties. For instance, you’re right to vote, to marry, your right to privacy and freedom of speech to name a few. Civil rights are about the individual being treated as an equal among others.

Civil rights originate from laws that are regulated at the federal level of government either through decisions of the federal court or federal legislation. Civil rights also originate from states that pass their own laws involving civil rights. These are for the most part very similar to the federal level laws and even counties and cities can develop ordinances and laws related to these rights.

Philadelphia lawyers have a great deal of cases which involve people who have been discriminated due to their sexual orientation. This means that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have been treated unfairly simply because of their sexual preference. There is currently a bill that many people are showing support for that, if passed into legislation, will make it illegal for people to publicly or privately discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.

The right to be treated equally had a huge history with the African-American community seeing fair treatment in all aspects of society. Today the Philadelphia attorney is an outreach coordinator of Equality Advocates in basic fairness. If you feel you are suffering a violation of your civil rights, do not hesitate to contact your attorney and take advantage of their experience in protecting you and your rights in what are usually complicated and sensitive issues. It is not necessary to suffer in silence. Every individual has rights and these rights should be upheld.